And yet he sat there, helpless monarch, like a fowl trussed for roasting. The blame lies with himself, because he was a helpless creature; it lies also with England and the States. Their agents on the spot preached peace (where there was no peace, and no pretence of it) with eloquence and iteration. Secretary Bayard seems to have felt a call to join personally in the solemn farce, and was at the expense of a telegram in which he assured the sinking monarch it was "for the higher interests of Samoa" he should do nothing. There was no man better at doing that; the advice came straight home, and was devoutly followed. And to be just to the great Powers, something was done in Europe; a conference was called, it was agreed to send commissioners to Samoa, and the decks had to be hastily cleared against their visit. Dr. Stuebel had attached the municipality of Apia and hoisted the German war-flag over Mulinuu; the American consul (in a sudden access of good service) had flown the stars and stripes over Samoan colours; on either side these steps were solemnly retracted. The Germans expressly disowned Tamasese; and the islands fell into a period of suspense, of some twelve months' duration, during which the seat of the history was transferred to other countries and escapes my purview. Here on the spot, I select three incidents: the arrival on the scene of a new actor, the visit of the Hawaiian embassy, and the riot on the Emperor's birthday. The rest shall be silence; only it must be borne in view that Tamasese all the while continued to strengthen himself in Leulumoenga, and Laupepa sat inactive listening to the song of consuls.

Captain Brandeis. The new actor was Brandeis, a Bavarian captain of artillery, of a romantic and adventurous character. He had served with credit in war; but soon wearied of garrison life, resigned his battery, came to the States, found employment as a civil engineer, visited Cuba, took a sub-contract on the Panama canal, caught the fever, and came (for the sake of the sea voyage) to Australia. He had that natural love for the tropics which lies so often latent in persons of a northern birth; difficulty and danger attracted him; and when he was picked out for secret duty, to be the hand of Germany in Samoa, there is no doubt but he accepted the post with exhilaration. It is doubtful if a better choice could have been made. He had courage, integrity, ideas of his own, and loved the employment, the people, and the place. Yet there was a fly in the ointment. The double error of unnecessary stealth and of the immixture of a trading company in political affairs, has vitiated, and in the end defeated, much German policy. And Brandeis was introduced to the islands as a clerk, and sent down to Leulumoenga (where he was soon drilling the troops and fortifying the position of the rebel king) as an agent of the German firm. What this mystification cost in the end I shall tell in another place; and even in the beginning, it deceived no one. Brandeis is a man of notable personal appearance; he looks the part allotted him; and the military clerk was soon the centre of observation and rumour. Malietoa wrote and complained of his presence to Becker, who had succeeded Dr. Stuebel in the consulate. Becker replied, "I have nothing to do with the gentleman Brandeis. Be it well known that the gentleman Brandeis has no appointment in a military character, but resides peaceably assisting the government of Leulumoenga in their work, for Brandeis is a quiet, sensible gentleman." And then he promised to send the vice-consul to "get information of the captain's doings": surely supererogation of deceit.

The Hawaiian Embassy. The prime minister of the Hawaiian kingdom was, at this period, an adventurer of the name of Gibson. He claimed, on the strength of a romantic story, to be the heir of a great English house. He had played a part in a revolt in Java, had languished in Dutch fetters, and had risen to be a trusted agent of Brigham Young, the Utah president.

Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa Page 16

Robert Louis Stevenson

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